Barking Town Hall to host inquest into deaths of Stephen Port victims
An eight-week inquest into the deaths of four men murdered by serial killer Stephen Port is set to begin on Monday 4 October at Barking Town Hall.
The long-awaited inquest will examine the Metropolitan Police’s initial response to the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor, who were drugged, raped and killed by Port between 2014 and 2015.
Port was sentenced to life in prison at the Old Bailey in November 2016 for the murders of the four men.
The inquest was originally scheduled to take place at the Old Bailey. Due to the number of people involved and the need for social distancing, Barking and Dagenham Council offered the Town Hall as an alternative venue to ensure the families of the four victims do not face any further delays and can get the answers they so desperately need from the inquest.
The inquest will be open to journalists and members of the public.
Leader of the Council, Darren Rodwell, said: “We know the families of Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack have waited so long for this inquest. Nothing will ever bring those young men back, but their families understandably want answers.
“We’re really glad we’ve been able to help them get those answers by offering the town hall to host the inquest – so this wasn’t delayed again.
“Port is a dangerous individual and his actions devastated our entire borough. Since the case came to light, we’ve been working with our local LGBTQ+ community to put equalities as high as possible on our agenda and provide reassurance that Barking and Dagenham is a borough for everyone.
“We’ll continue to support the families, any residents and the wider community however we can during the inquest and afterwards, whatever the outcome.”
Once the inquest finishes, the East London Coroner’s office will continue to use Barking Town Hall and part of the Adult College for non-jury hearings until March 2022, while Walthamstow Magistrates’ Court is being redeveloped.
For more information visit www.eastlondoninquests.org.uk